Know Your School of Athens Philosophers: Aristotle

7:00 AM

Raphael, The School of Athens, 1511

Aristotle, a renowned Greek philosopher, accomplished a multitude of feats throughout his life. His genius for intellectual and creative discovery remains a pristine example of innovation. To that end, it’s no surprise that Raphael features Aristotle and Plato in the center of The School of Athens. The painting's flow streams outwards from the two, as they are surrounded by many great scholars and artists. Juxtaposed, they walk and indicate their philosophical stance by their hand gestures. Plato’s philosophy centered around the concept that the true reality is an outlier, and what we can perceive within our unstable world is merely an abstraction of the truth. Plato’s raised hand demonstrates his belief that his ideal, stable reality exists above. In contrast, Aristotle’s reality simply exists in what we can sense. His outstretched hand moves in a downward motion, emphasizing the idea that reality exists in human experience and life. The contrasting colors of their robes, red and blue, also mark their differences.

Thus, Aristotle shares the spotlight with Plato as one of the greatest Greek philosophers in Raphael's The School of Ahtens.


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